AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND CONTRACT COMPLIANCE DIVISION Velma J. Laws, Director City of Houston ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER 832.393.0954 3.1.1 One Stop Business Center (OSBC)
THE ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER IS A FREE INFORMATION CLEARINGHOUSE FOR NEW, EXPANDING, AND RELOCATING BUSINESSES IN THE HOUSTON REGION.THE CENTER IS UNIQUE IN TEXAS.
PUBLICATIONS: “SOURCES of ASSISTANCE” and “CONTRACTING GUIDE” for companies selling products or services to the City of Houston
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: Provides referrals to sources of technical assistance, counseling, mentoring, networking, incubators, workshops, and education
FINANCING INFO: Provides information on financing programs and local incentives for small businessesONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER Services
PACKET IS UNIQUE AND FREE OF CHARGE
GETTING STARTED PACKET CONTAINS INFORMATION ON PERMITS AND LICENSES NECESSARY TO OPERATE A BUSINESS IN HOUSTON/HARRIS COUNTY. The paper version of the GSP is geared towards permitting and regulatory issues, while the online version (more complete) has additional details and in-depth materials. - Also available on CD -
THESE ARE OFTEN AVAILABLE FREE OF CHARGE ON THE AGENCY WEBSITE. (In-depth information is best provided by the administering agency.)Referrals to Regulatory Agencies
The OSBC updates and publishes 2 great resources for potential vendors with the City of Houston:
SOURCES OF ASSISTANCE: A comprehensive guide to resources for MWDBE-SBE certified companies in Houston.
CONTRACTING GUIDE: For businesses selling goods and services to the City of Houston. Lists all COH personnel who interface with vendors, with phone numbers and addresses.
Available in hard copy, CD, or on the COH website.
OSBC refers clients to Houston area sources of free or low cost technical or management assistance, educational opportunities, seminars and workshops, and business plan support.
OSBC provides information on public loan programs and business incentives, including the SBA, Houston Business Development, and others. One Stop DOES NOT provide direct private lender referrals- you must contact a private lender or the SBA for referrals.
The Houston SBA office maintains a list of Preferred Certified Lenders and Microloan companies. Call them at 713.773.6500 for private lender referrals.
OSBC DOES NOT PROVIDE
Basic grant resources for small businesses:
www.grants.gov (good general resource)
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (www.cfda.gov)
The Foundation Center (foundationcenter.org)
City of Houston Housing and
Community Development Dept. (CDBG Grants)
NOTE: Grants are normally unavailable for start up companies. Before you pay someone promising grant money, contact the Texas Attorney General and check on their complaint record (713.223.5886). Also contact the Houston Better Business Bureau @ 713-868-9500.
2 - 4 pm at the Affirmative Action Office, 611 Walker, 7th Floor, Downtown Houston. Parking nearby (charge- call for directions).
The Strategic Purchasing Division’s online purchasing catalog contains various categories of commodities, which have been competitively bid and awarded by the City.
Identify potential opportunities, and participate in the competitive bid process!!
SCORE is "Counselors to America's Small Business“- professionals with knowledge who donate their time to help businesses succeed. Counselors are experts in accounting, finance, marketing, management and business plan preparation. All counseling is FREE OF CHARGE.
OSBC has a SCORE counselor at its City Hall Annex office weekly, for one-hour appointments, or at the main SCORE office at 8701 S. Gessner (713-773-6565)
Call 832-393-0954 to make an appointment! www.scorehouston,.org
Contact ONE STOP for dates and times for upcoming business workshops. We do topic based (Ex: “Business Planning and Financing” or “Franchising”) and general introductions to our services, as well as services offered by SCORE and the Houston Public Library. Contact us if you’d like a program produced in your community! Call us at 832-393-0954 for dates and times.
FACEBOOK: HOUSTON ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER
CITIZENS NET (sign up page) cohapp.cityofhouston.gov/citizensnet/
WHERE: CITY HALL ANNEX, 900 BAGBY STREET
HOURS: 7:30am - 5pm, Monday-Friday
APPRAISAL DISTRICT (After Jan. 1 of each year)
TITLE 1 - TEXAS UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE
CH. 36. ASSUMED BUSINESS OR PROFESSIONAL NAME
Any person who regularly conducts business or renders professional services other than as a corporation, limited partnership, registered limited liability partnership, or limited liability company in Texas under an assumed name shall file in the office of the county clerk in each county in which such person has or will maintain business or professional premises or, if no business or professional premises are or will be maintained in any county, in each county where such person conducts business or renders a professional service. (excerpt)
ARA (Administrative and Regulatory Affairs) engages in compliance investigations, permit processing and fee collection activities associated with over 50 various commercial permits.
LOCATION: 611 Walker, 2nd Floor – 713.837.9555
Some existing permits and licenses can be re-issued with a new applicant’s business and owner name. Call the issuing agency to determine if you must reapply for a specific permit under a new name or if it can be transferred.
EVERY LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL AGENCY HAS DIFFERENT RULES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR REAPPLICATION. YOU MUST CONTACT THEM AFTER AN INVENTORY OF EXISTING PERMITS AND LICENSES. FEES AND WAITING PERIOD INFORMATION IS ALSO AVAILABLE.
DO NOT ASSUME YOU CAN REGISTER A SIMPLE NAME CHANGE IF YOU BUY AN EXISTING BUSINESS.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal minimum wage for nonexempt employees will increase to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.
Employees whose jobs are governed by the FLSA are either "exempt" or "nonexempt." Nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime pay. Exempt employees are not. Most employees covered by the FLSA are nonexempt.
The Texas State minimum wage law does not contain
current dollar minimums. Instead the State adopts the Federal
minimum wage rate by reference.
Business licenses and permits can vary by type of business, range of activities, and enforcing jurisdiction.
A business may not be issued a license or a permit (for a fee) but still be regulated by some level of government.
Mail Order businesses do not receive an actual permit or license but are regulated by the US Federal Trade Commission through their “Mail Order Rule”
The primary purpose of the DTPA is to protect consumers against false, misleading, and deceptive business and insurance practices, unconscionable actions, and breaches of warranty. It does so by prohibiting certain acts and practices that tend to deceive and mislead consumers. Most consumer transactions are covered by the DTPA. Although the DTPA does not cover every deceptive or unconscionable act or practice, it is quite broad.
There is NO “general business license” issued by the COH. DBAs, State Sales Tax Permits, or EINs are NOT business licenses. They are business-specific and issued individually based on business type and range of activities. BUSINESSES DO NOT REQUIRE THE SAME PERMITS AND LICENSES.
DBAs (or assumed names) are not proof of an operational business. People can register more than one DBA and there is no requirement to transact business. Therefore, DBA’s are seldom accepted as proof of such.
Similar Regulatory Requirements?
Similar business types can be located across the street from one another yet be in different cities or counties- thus having different requirements. EXAMPLE…
FF 1 (COH)
New structure, no alcohol, contract labor, no grease trap, signs, incorporated, wastewater impact fees, occupancy certificate, food dealer, burglar alarm.
FF 2 (HC)
Existing structure, alcohol, employees, grease trap, seafood, signs, sole proprietor, MUD (water/sewer), food dealer, burglar alarm.
The City of Houston is UNZONED. Houston enforces deed restrictions for the protection of citizens and property owners in residential neighborhoods. All residents and citizens benefit, and it promotes the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the city.
PLEASE CONTACT THE
DEED RESTRICTION HOTLINE AT 832.393.6333
BEFORE OPERATING FROM A HOME:
call 713-755-6899 (Real Property Records- fee for copies).
Houston is the largest city in the United States without a formal zoning ordinance. There ARE specific development regulations however. Contact the Planning and Development Department (at 713-837-7701) for information, or for a copy of the NO ZONING LETTER.
2010 City of Houston NO ZONING LETTER:
Harris County NO ZONING LETTER:
“The City of Houston does not have a zoning ordinance. This is the city of Houston’s no zoning letter applicable to any property inside the City of Houston. This does not address any separately filed restrictions that may be applicable to the property. You may use this letter to present to your lender. This letter will be updated on January 1, 2011.”
“All applicable development regulations and subdivisions laws can be obtained through a review of the City Code of Ordinances, which is located on the City of Houston Internet site accessed through www.houstonplanning.com or www.houstontx.gov”
Call ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER:
To download a copy of this presentation: